The view from both camps
Gary Smith and Paulo Di Canio speak ahead of Saturday’s clash between Boro and Swindon Town
Gary Smith admits he has a decision to make whether to bring in one or two fresh faces for the visit of Swindon on Saturday, for what will be their third game in a week.
Boro had two highly-taxing 90 minutes en route to wins over MK Dons and Portsmouth on Saturday and Tuesday respectively, and the Stevenage manager says he is unsure whether to give one or two a rest or stick with the same group that performed so well during the last two outings.
Midfielder James Dunne will miss out due to a one-match suspension, while on-loan Swindon midfielder Oliver Risser is eligible to play against his parent club.
Regardless of who he selects, Smith is expecting another demanding afternoon of football at the Lamex.
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“It will be a tough game. I think their away form has been slightly better than their home form, which has been the case with us a little bit this season,” said Smith.
“Paulo Di Canio is a colourful and creative manager and he has put together a very strong group. I suspect the budget behind the scenes is a very big one, and one which suggests they are looking for back-to-back promotions.
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“I couldn’t even begin to tell you what side he will put out because there has been a lot of changes, but what we do know is whoever plays will provide us with a stiff test and at the end of a tough week it will be a difficult encounter.”
Swindon boss Paulo Di Canio also admits Saturday should prove to be a close game, but insists his players will not be wary of facing one of the league’s form teams on their home patch.
“They have won the last two so they are in a good position close to the top. They are a solid team, no fantasy, they know what they want, they work hard off the ball and when they have got the ball they have two or three good individuals,” said Di Canio.
“In general you don’t see big fantasy in this team but they play effective football which is really important in this league and that is why they stay near the top.
“They are a tough team to face in this moment but I’m not worried because we will play our football and we will try to get chances to win this game.
“From what I see in their play it is nothing different than being solid, keeping their shape, working well and taking the chances when they have them.
“In terms of football expression, you see with them something you need in this league – individually they know what they are doing and they have very high determination to do something effective for the team.
“What makes a difference is individual action. [Jose] Mourinho gave a shape to Real Madrid, but do you think he is going to tell Ronaldo how to beat his opponent and hit the top corner from 30 yards?
“We can improve the individuals but there is a level and the limit is the limit.”